Bioveda family

Building Aircrete Domes at Bioveda Academy

We were watching some late night bogus on TV after a night out on Long street, Cape Town. It was getting late, for some reason, I checked my email, said to Jonny ” hey man, check this out, I’m in, are you keen”?.

Two weeks later we were on our way to Jo’burg, I hadn’t been back to since my early childhood. I never felt the urge to re-visit this place, but this time I had no choice, I was being pulled.

I was one of the first to arrive, set up my tent under a tree, on the soft, green lawn of a mansion in Houghton. There was a guy on the grass, lying on his shoulders toes pointed to the sky, topless. Next up, a friendly looking character with long hair arrived, he asked where he could set up, I said, “anywhere”, “really, anywhere”, “yes, I suppose so”, “Ok, i’ll take the spot in front of the pond”.

This was our camp site for the next two weeks
Houghton lawn
The tents on the lawn, mine is the one in the middle. Thanks Jeff

We all arrived together, at a house at the end of a cul-de-sac. We ate dinner and introduced ourselves, we were a group of inspiring individuals from all over the world, ready to change the world in one way or another, thats what I felt.

Bioveda Intro
The introduction dinner

There was a buzz of excitement on the first day, everyone full of energy, ready to get stuck into whichever part of the building they could. Where is the aircrete? where is the dome? Oh wait, we’ve gotta build it. At this point we didn’t know each other, it was a similar feeling to the first hour of the army, and all at once, the wheel started turning. Over the next two weeks we became a team, a family, drawn to this place in in a somewhat synchronous manner.

Ubuntu visit
The Bioveda team visits Michael Tellinger at UBUNTU

We worked together to co-create a structure which we wanted to see, not because we had to, but because we wanted to. A challenge set before us to build a dome using a material which we all knew very little about. It was no easy task but we got it done, nevertheless.

Bioveda aircrete dragon
The aircrete production plant

Within the two week period, we ended up with a three quarter complete Aircrete dome and an almost entirely complete super-adobe (sandbag) dome. We made our own Aircrete blocks, door and window frames, archways, forms, compasses, render and pretty much everything else, required to build the dome, which could not be bought from a general hardware store.

Bioveda compass
The compass and butress

As someone with a few years of experience in construction, I found this workshop challenging at times, and the types of challenges were similar to those we face in the ‘real world’. Not just the technical ‘hard’ skills but also the ‘soft’ interpersonal communication skills required in a diverse team and I feel blessed to have been a part of a talented team such as this one.

Bioveda family
This is the team

 

Please take the time to browse through my gallery of Bioveda photos and leave a comment if you like.

Thanks

Toni

To readers: If you would like to learn more about the finer details of how to build aircrete domes as well as gain insight into off-grid living courses, check out the BioVeda website for more information, contact Alosha by clicking this link.

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